LIFESTYLE
22/12/2017 13:08 GMT | Updated 02/01/2018 09:48 GMT

How To Help A Loved One With Cancer This Christmas, From Patients And Survivors

'Just be there for them.'

Around 2.5 million people in the UK are living with cancer this Christmas and in a potentially stressful time, it can be difficult for friends and family to know how to approach the festive period. 

With that in mind, a group of cancer patients and survivors have teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Support to offer their tips for helping a loved one this Christmas.

In the video, Nicola, who had kidney and bladder cancer, says maintaining a sense of normality can help. 

“Not everything is about: ‘oh, because you have cancer now you have to, you know, eat and drink this’. Give them, you know, some chocolate or something,” she says.

Talitha, who had cervical cancer and now has incurable cancer in her lungs and lower back, agrees.

“If things carry on as normal, it leaves you less time to sit and dwell on what’s happening to yourself,” she says.

Ellis, who had leukaemia, says simply spending time with the people you care about is valuable.

“Just be there for them, I think’s the main thing,” he says. 

“After I was diagnosed, [we] got everyone together, had a big family Christmas and spent a lot of time just laughing and enjoying ourselves.”

However Sara, who had breast cancer, says she longed for some quiet time during Christmas. 

“I was going through chemo during Christmas and to be honest, I just wanted to be left alone,” she says.

Ultimately, in order to support a loved one with cancer at Christmas you should remember to treat them as an individual and ask them what they’d like to do.

Pravina, who had breast cancer, says: “Let it be their choice as to whether they want to participate.” 

For more advice on how to help a loved one with cancer over the festive period, Macmillan nurse Karla Scott has written a handy blog with her top tips.